I was talking with a friend of mine recently who was experiencing severe stress overload. While she was talking about her situation, I could feel the heaviness she felt. We’ve all been there. Our current situation seems to make the air so thick that it’s hard to breathe.
When we are in that state, it is almost impossible to think creatively. I could identify with her situation, but I noticed something as I listened to her talk. Because I was on the outside looking in, to me, her problem didn’t seem impossible to overcome. All I saw was her talents, skills, and opportunities. Things that at that moment, were hard for her to find.
When we are in that place of being overwhelmed, looking from a different perspective can have profound results. The circumstances may be the same, but by taking a fresh look, the challenges can be more manageable.
This is easier said than done. Sometimes our brains can get stuck on certain topics. When we worry or stress about something, our mind won’t let us get past it. Our thoughts can take us captive. We become a prisoner of our own life.
The good news is that we do not have to let our lives control us. We can get back in the driver’s seat by changing our perspective. You may have heard the saying “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” This is true. We can change our reality by changing the way we look at our reality.
Usually, we just want to get distracted for a while so we don’t have to think about our situation. Most of us, when we want to get our mind off something, resort to watching TV or a movie. This is kind of like hitting the pause button in our brains. For a while, we veg out. We think we’re relaxing. But as soon as the show is over, our brains resume to worrying and stress.
I don’t think the healthy way to deal with stressful situations is to anesthetize our brain. We need to rejuvenate it. How can we do that? One way is to change our surroundings. Go for a walk or a drive. This helps us gain a new perspective. Our brains love new stimuli. And when we change our environment, our brain unlocks.
Another way is to make art. The great thing about doing an activity like painting, pottery or other artwork is that our mind is actually engaged, but it is not consumed with worry. We are using the part of our brain that thinks creatively. When we are in this state of relaxed creativity, our minds begin to find solutions and relationships between seemingly unrelated things. So we stop worrying and start creating. We’re not pressing the pause button on our minds. We’re rejuvenating it. This is much healthier.
My friend who I mentioned above came in to Art Village a while back to paint a plate. She told me that painting that plate was one of the most relaxing times she’s had recently. She also said that just looking at the plate now makes her feel better. Making time for self-expression, no matter the medium, can give you the boost to keep moving forward.
We live in uncertain times. We may not be able to control outside circumstances, but we can be in control of our own minds. Nourish yourself. Feed the soul. Create new things. This may seem frivolous, but it is most important.
Art Saves Lives!